Medicine: New Ally Against Heart Disease

A potent anticholesterol drug receives FDA approval

Madelon Fuller's childhood memories of Waxahachie, Texas (pop. 18,560), include chasing fireflies, catching crawdads and eating plenty of fried okra, gravy-soaked chicken-fried steak and eggs. Not surprisingly, Fuller's cholesterol level went into orbit -- 324 mg per 100 ml of blood, in contrast to an optimal level of 200 mg -- and by age 44 she had had triple-bypass surgery. She went on a restrictive diet, and her cholesterol level plunged. But her arteries were still choking. Early this year her doctor suggested adding an experimental drug called lovastatin to her regimen. Within four months the magic number was 156 mg....